“Step by step. Day by day.”

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. A joyous Festivus. Whatever holiday you choose to celebrate – or if you choose not to celebrate at all – I hope everyone’s taking a little time off right now to enjoy with your favorites, catch up on personal tasks, or catch some extra R&R.

While this is one time of year we momentarily get distracted from our typical wellness commitments (I write this after sleeping in this morning vs. going to the gym, having a giant muffin for “second breakfast,” and polishing off lunch with three mini Reese’s cups – yikes), the back-to-the-grind, let’s-do-this, New-Year-new-you mentality is only hours away.

Muffins. Donuts. Cake. All acceptable breakfasts this time of year.

Many will make typical New Year’s Resolutions this year, among them the ones of which I’m not a fan. Throughout the years I’ve taken a softer approach to my anti-NYR stance and, rather than outright knock the popular diet and exercise ones, shifted to topics like why there’s a better time of year to make those commitments, how to instead set ongoing goals, and practical reasons these resolutions can be set ups for failure.

This year, I’m going to really knock everyone’s socks off and get even softer on NYRs. In fact, I encourage you to make one.

Whoa. Yep. Let that sink in.

However, it comes with a catch. I’m not encouraging you to make a typical “lose weight” or “exercise every day” or “be less stressed” NYR. What I do encourage you to do is take a realistic look at something in your life, overall wellness, even at work, that you really want to change and that you’d greatly benefit from a change. Then, decide how you’re going to take the small, daily steps to make that change – not going all-in-overboard for the typical NYR three-week window, but small changes that will last for good.

For me, one of the single biggest stresses in my daily life, one area that I know would greatly improve my moods if I could change it – road rage. I admit it, I have serious issues when it comes to driving. I’m rude, I’m easily irked, I’m incredibly impatient. In short, I could chill the F out a little bit behind the wheel and I know that. I’ve already begun the first two steps in my process to become a calmer, more patient driver – awareness (yes, the first step IS admitting you have a problem) and breathing.

It sounds silly but pausing to take deep breaths vs. swear loudly at the car in front of me is something I’m committed to doing. Unlike curbing my speeding, changing lanes in heavy traffic, and tailgating (none of which I feel strong enough to commit to stopping yet) my breathing strategy is a small enough change that I can honestly say I’ll do it, and it’s something that I believe will make a significant impact.

Am I going to succeed every time I’m behind the wheel? Of course not. Even the best-kept NYR falters here or there. But as long as they’re picked back up right away, that’s the key to making a real healthy habit change. Like I always say, don’t resolve for a few weeks. Commit for the long haul. And, especially since I’ll soon be carrying precious cargo with me, there’s no better time to make the change and become a better driver.

What’s a small, yet impactful – and non-fitness, diet, or exercise-related – change you could make? Is it something you’re willing to commit to as your NYR? Comment it below or tweet it to me @LindsayIRL. When you achieve a little victory, share it with #wellirl. And Happy New Year!

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